The proposed trade that would have brought all-NBA center Dwight Howard to Brooklyn seems to be dead.
It may simply be resting.
The trade would have sent Howard and high-priced guard Jason Richardson to the Nets in exchange for Brook Lopez and several future first-round draft picks. An additional team – the Cavaliers and Bobcats were reportedly potential third-parties – would have been involved to provide picks and offset some of the salary differences in what would have been a tremendously complicated deal. With the teams unable to complete a deal, the Nets are expected to re-sign Lopez – a restricted free agent – to a max contract extension.
It is possible that talks between the two teams could be revived next January; CBA rules will prevent the Nets from trading Lopez’ contract until after January 15, 2013. But that gives other suitors plenty of time to come up with offers of their own. It would be very risky for a team like the Lakers, Hawks or Rockets to step up and make a deal for Howard, who has said he’ll only sign a long-term contract with the Nets.
On the other hand, Howard seems to have a great deal of difficulty making important decisions about where he is and isn’t willing to play. He would have been a free agent this summer, but decided not to opt-out of his contract with the Magic. Then, three months later, he demanded a trade. Anyone who claims to be absolutely sure what he will or won’t be willing to do next June is either deluded or lying.
That said, the uncertainty about Howard’s long-term plans may help him land at his preferred destination. Other teams might be willing to gamble on Howard, but to this point, none but the Nets have been willing to take on another high-priced contract. Unless someone steps up with an offer that will rid the Magic of, say, Hedo Turkoglu (two years, $24 million remaining) or Jason Richardson (three years, $18 million), this process could drag on until the new year.